An American Airlines passenger says flight attendants retaliated against him for pointing out they hadn’t been wearing masks.
Andy Eisenmann, who reports being an AAdvantage elite member on a paid first class ticket back from Hawaii, says he’s scarred by the incident. He’s a classical music teacher who speaks four languages, and a former customer experience consultant. He says that he watched the maskless flight attendants in the gate area of his flight from Dallas to Palm Springs flight on Sunday for nearly 40 minutes. They didn’t eat or drink at all.
I got to experience my FIRST EVER talk w police at PSP on Sunday, thanks to members of THIS DFW-PSP #2835 who lied to police saying I was unruly. One of these no maskers, perhaps, after I quietly said they offended me. @AmericanAir pic.twitter.com/W68ETj9yCp
— andy eisenmann (@andyeman) November 24, 2020
Eisenmann says he didn’t comment on this until the end of the flight after the captain’s second announcement about safety and mask protocols. That’s when he noted to one of the flight attendants that he saw the man not wearing his mask in the airport, and showed him a photo he’d taken. According to Mr. Eisenmann,
He immediately got defensive, telling his (female) colleague that he was drinking coffee…he went to the back of the plane for about 5 minutes (where the second no masker attendant was stationed) and came back. There were no words, no body language and no further communication with him.
Yet police met the aircraft in Palm Springs and took Eisenmann into “a tiny, non-vented room” and told him he was reported as an “unruly passenger.” He says it was his first time being questioned by law enforcement. He felt unsafe because of the small indoor space he was confined to during Covid, and embarrassed to be publicly taken by officers in front of three co-workers.
An American Airlines spokesperson offers,
We are looking into an issue that occurred on American Airlines flight 2835 from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) on Nov. 22. We’ve reached out to the customer to learn more about their recent travel experience and to address their concerns.
American requires all team members and customers to adhere to the face covering policy throughout the entirety of their journey – including all areas of the airport and on board aircraft. Our team is reviewing this incident internally and will conduct any appropriate follow-up.
When a flight attendant isn’t wearing a mask, don’t get into a confrontation with them. It’s better to seek help from a different employee.
In this case it appears the crewmembers were wearing their masks inflight, and the issue was raised a couple of hours after the incident. They were wearing masks at the time. So while there’s no excuse for an employee not wearing a mask inside the terminal, it probably wasn’t a productive discussion to have. Nonetheless, unless some additional information about the passenger’s behavior comes out, using law enforcement to retaliate against a customer is inexcusable.